Season 4 of the Disney+ series premiered Wednesday.
The East High Wildcats had a bit of a reunion in season 4 of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. But the Disney+ show was missing two familiar faces -- Zac Efron, who played basketball playing heartthrob Troy Bolton, and Vanessa Hudgens, who played brainy singer Gabriella Montez, in the original films.
Despite the return of several original cast members including Corbin Bleu (Chad Danforth), Monique Coleman (Taylor McKessie), Lucas Grabeel (Ryan Evans), and KayCee Strong (Martha Cox), Efron, Hudgens and co-star Ashley Tisdale (Sharpay Evans) did not make cameos in the finale season of the spinoff series.
But that doesn't mean their absences weren't explained. In one scene, Bleu gave an update on everyone's characters in the fictional High School Musical 4 movie, saying, "It is our 15-year high school reunion. My character, Chad, is married to Taylor. Martha is a world-class choreographer. Troy and Gabriella are in couples therapy. Ryan is happily partnered, with twins on the way."
And in the song "High School Reunion," which was sung by some of the OG stars, Strong quipped of her missing co-stars, "They have been silent in the group chat."
Back in September 2022, HSMTMTS creator Tim Federle hinted at the drama and hijinks that awaited the Wildcats with the old guard stepping back into the halls of East High.
"I think you can expect some familiar faces from the past, but the real drive is ultimately the series cast," Federle told ET at the time.
The series cast includes breakout singer-songwriter Olivia Rodrigo, who left the show in season 3 as Nini, Joshua Bassett as Ricky, Sofia Wylie as Gina, Dara Reneé as Kourtney, Frankie A. Rodriguez as Carlos, Matt Cornett as EJ, Julia Lester as Ashlyn, and more.
Federle also spoke to People about his predictions for Sharpay's future, saying, “She's now a full CEO and I think she's a Goop competitor that's about to IPO,” he says, adding the pink-loving theater girl definitely "consulted on Barbie and coached Margot [Robbie] through" her character. "I think she's a businesswoman, of course."
Federle said that despite trying to get Efron, Hudgens and Tisdale to appear in the series, they ultimately were not able to swing it due to scheduling conflicts.
Efron and Hudgens shot to fame after playing the beloved love interests in the franchise's three films. The stars also dated in real life before splitting in 2010. Hudgens is now engaged to baseball player Cole Tucker.
High School Musical: The Musical: The Series is currently streaming on Disney+.